Updated June 2
After a successful soft launch last week, Island Health Care (IHC) began its first phase of testing and taking appointments Monday.
While testing was still going on, IHC CEO Cynthia Mitchell told The Times by phone that testing was going well, and about 51 people had been tested as of 2:40 pm.
“It’s really gone smoothly, administering tests,” Mitchell said, adding that they may make adjustments to the appointment lengths to make them faster. “It’s working out so far so good.”
The first phase of testing will prioritize frontline workers, but other Islanders are welcome to call. Vulnerable populations such as those with disabilities, those over the age of 65, or those who are immunocompromised or have existing health conditions will also be prioritized. Health officials are also looking to test those living in congregate housing and transportation workers early on in the process.
Testing is done by appointment only. Those who want to get tested must preregister with Island Health Care and call 877-336-9855 to schedule an appointment for a drive-through test.
Monday also marked the opening of the call center to schedule appointments. In an email to The Times, clinic spokeswoman Mary Breslauer said the call center, which is open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, had received about 80 calls by midday.
Mitchell said she expects the number of calls to increase as word spreads that it’s available.
“It’s apt to be a little kind of up and down, at least until the word is totally out that anyone who wants one can get one,” Mitchell said of the tests.
At noon, Stephen Rusckowski, CEO of Quest Diagnostics thanked people for their patience as the testing center got set up. “It’s been a lot of long meetings; thanks for sticking with us as we realized this vision,” Rusckowski said.
The testing site was the result of talks between Rusckowski, his wife Deborah, and Edgartown selectman Michael Donaroma, who helped set the clinic in motion. Quest Diagnostics furnished thousands of tests for the testing site, which is run cooperatively with IHC, the Vineyard’s health boards, EMS and emergency management officials, and others.
Rusckowski said he hopes to have everyone on the Island tested, to see how infections change when seasonal residents and visitors start arriving in the coming weeks.
After its first full day, the drive-through had tested a total of 73 patients, according to the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health, who are keeping tabs on the number of people tested. Of those, zero tested positive, 22 tested negative, and 51 are pending results.
Updated to include information on how to register for tests and updated testing results. — Ed.